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Title: An update on the diversity of Wolbachia in Spalangia spp. (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae)

item Floate, Kevin
item Coghlin, Paul
item Taylor, David - Dave

Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/23/2008
Publication Date: 6/23/2008
Citation: Floate, K.D., Coghlin, P.C., Taylor, D.B. 2008. An update on the diversity of Wolbachia in Spalangia spp. (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology. 18(7):733-739. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Cheri The technical abstract and interpretive summaries for “An update Many species of wasps parasitize the immature stages of flies the impact human health and livestock production. Wasps in the genus Muscidifurax and Spalangia are the primary parasites of filth flies in North America. Wolbachia are bacteria that live inside the cells of many insects and are transmitted from one generation to the next through the egg. Wolbachia have the ability to change the reproductive physiology of their hosts in many ways, often depending upon the strain of Wolbachia involved. Some render their host sterile if they mate with an uninfected individual. Others permit the host to reproduce without mating. Several species of Muscidifurax and Spalangia are known to be infected with Wolbachia. Identifying the strains of Wolbachia involved and their diversity is useful for understanding the reproduction of these wasps as well as for setting up and maintaining colonies for the production of wasps for use in biological control programs. In this study, we have surveyed most of the species of Spalangia found commonly parasitizing filth flies in North America and characterized the strains of Wolbachia infecting those wasps.

Technical Abstract: Infections of Wolbachia bacteria have the potential to improve the efficacy of their host insects as biological control agents. Results of an earlier study documented numerous cases of such infections in a beneficial guild of wasps (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) parasitic on pest flies affecting livestock. Results of the current study support the earlier findings of single isolate infections in the wasp Spalangia nigra Latrielle and universal infections in Spalangia cameroni Perkins. Three isolates previously detected only in populations of S. cameroni from Denmark, France and Peru also are now recognized from North America. Populations of Spalangia endius Walker, previously thought to be infected with one isolate of Wolbachia, are now known to be infected with two isolates. The earlier study identified one isolate from populations of Spalangia slovaca Boucek, which had been identified as the morphologically similar Spalangia nigroaenea Curtis until a recent study distinguished between the two species using molecular markers. The current results show North American populations of S. nigroaenea to be infected with two isolates of Wolbachia that each are distinct from the isolate reported earlier for S. slovaca. Isolates were distinguished by variation in the wsp gene, for which a high number of recombinant sequences were detected. This finding does not negate conclusions of the current or the earlier study, but does identify use of the wsp gene as likely to confound interpretations of Wolbachia phylogeny.